An Interview with Lucille Wenegieme, Director of Communications & Public Relations, National Vote at Home Institute
01:07 Have you had a moment of reckoning either personally or professionally given the current pandemics of COVID 19/1619?
- The biggest part of us being a year into this is continual moments of reckoning.
- The work will be here, it is in my home all day and night if I want it to be and it’s on me to make sure I’m doing what I need to be a full, whole person, throughout it because there are a lot of people who aren’t going to make it at the end.
03:41 If there was a headline for your leadership journey throughout your career, what would it be?
- Vulnerability in what I can achieve. What I do and don’t know. Not knowing what the next step of my career path is going to be.
- There’s always a piece of someone else’s expertise that contributes to a better final product.
07:47 What are some of your career highlights?
- My career path has not been linear.
- My prior career was in science as a scientist. I was able to present my work on Nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This was my first foiree into having a research project that I really owned.
- Soon after, I had a career in fashion. A career milestone was leveraging opportunities to increase capacity.
- I then moved into the political/political-adjacent realm of communication specifically.
- My biggest career bump to date was managing a multi-million-dollar campaign last year around the elections and making sure that folks had really clear and accessible information about the options that were available to them for voting by mail.
13:20 Work in the social sector can be very personal and linked to one’s values. Can you think of a time when your values were in tension during your career and how you reconciled that tension or not?
- In corporate retail – when I started there, it was a collaborative environment. About three quarters of the way into my time there, there was a huge shift in management, and everything changed.
- I value being able to look at the person next to me and being able to build something together.
- What do I need out of my organization to produce my best work for me?
- This is something that is evolving for me right now.
21:50 What’s your approach to self-care? Are there any rituals you use to survive and thrive?
- I am going to give you the most honest answer. I am terrible about self-care.
- I love to draw, and I love to journal. Massages. Those are some of the things, but I want to be really honest about the fact that often times when I schedule time for self-care it is with a cloud of guilt. That is a thing that I am working on. I haven’t allowed myself the room to appreciate it without guilt.
- The key is scheduling the time.
23:59 What advice would you offer other Black women trying to develop or amplify their voice and become self-advocates?
- Personally – pick your platform. It could look like a book club, Instagram, or a number of things. Pick the thing that works for you and just start putting things out there. The people who receive it will start to give you feedback.
- If you build it they will come.
- Professional – it does have to be a little more aggressive. You need to be open and available to grab whatever piques your interest even if you don’t feel like you aren’t necessarily ready for it yet.
- Make your voice heard and don’t be scared of that.
- Lead with who we are in the fullness of who we are.
- Bring your whole self and make room to assert your whole self in any situation that comes forward.